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Kuemmel's Corner: Link Crew built to help students succeed

A few years ago we implemented a new transition program at Park called Link Crew. Link Crew is a high school transition program that welcomes freshmen and makes them feel comfortable throughout the first year of their high school experience.

We want to do as much as we can to make the start of their high school career a success. Built on the belief that students can help students succeed, Link Crew trains members of the junior and senior classes to be Link Leaders. As positive role models, Link Leaders are motivators, leaders, and teachers who guide the freshmen to discover what it takes to be successful during the transition to high school and help facilitate freshman success. Our theme this year is, "We're All in this Together."

More and more studies show that if students have a positive experience their first year in high school, their chance for success increases dramatically. The Link Crew high school transition program provides the structure for freshmen to receive support and guidance from juniors and seniors who have been through the challenges that high school poses, and understand that the transition to a larger school can sometimes be overwhelming.

The strength of this program is the Link Crew leaders. These upperclassmen gave up two days of their summer to be trained on the main components of orientation and the LC program. The orientation (which took place two weeks ago) is a powerful day that makes freshmen excited and proud to be attending their new high school and allows them to begin developing relationships and strategies that will contribute to their high school success. After orientation, Link Crew continues, providing a variety of both academic and social follow up activities throughout the year. On Sept. 13, Park will host a district ninth grade dance for freshmen from all three district high schools — Park, East Ridge, and Woodbury.

Link Crew's goal is to provide schools with a structure in which students make real connections with each other. Through this program, students learn that people at school care about them and their success.

Link Crew is a program that will increase attendance, decrease discipline referrals, and improve academic performance at our school. I am very excited to implement this program again this year at Park and help the class of 2017 get ready to join the Pack!

Patrick Johnson
Patrick Johnson has been the South Washington County Bulletin’s sports editor since 2008. He reports on and oversees coverage of high school and amateur sports in south Washington County and Woodbury. Prior to joining the Bulletin, Johnson worked for other Twin Cities suburban newspapers. He is a University of Minnesota graduate.
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